37 days in Mexico & Central America Itinerary

37 days in Mexico & Central America Itinerary

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Plan created by another user. Make it yours
1
Merida, Mexico
— 3 nights
2
Chichen Itza, Mexico
— 1 night
3
Caye Caulker, Belize
— 1 night
4
Tikal National Park, Guatemala
— 3 nights
5
Antigua, Guatemala
— 3 nights
6
Copan Ruinas, Honduras
— 2 nights
7
San Salvador, El Salvador
— 2 nights
8
Granada, Nicaragua
— 3 nights
9
La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica
— 3 nights
10
Monteverde, Costa Rica
— 3 nights
11
Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
— 3 nights
12
San Jose, Costa Rica
— 2 nights
13
Playa del Carmen, Mexico
— 2 nights

3
nights
Merida, Mexico

Merida ©
Yucatan's busy capital, Merida remains a mid-sized urban center offering an impressive list of cultural activities, eclectic nightlife, and a chance to see tropical examples of French and Italian architecture.
Get some historical perspective at Uxmal and Iglesia San Antonio De Padua. Get some cultural insight at Merida Cathedral and Palacio de Gobierno del Estado de Yucátan. Explore Merida's surroundings by going to Cenote Kankirixche (in Mucuyche), EcoMuseo del Cacao (in Ticul) and Hacienda Yaxcopoil (in Yaxcopoil). And it doesn't end there: examine the collection at Museo Palacio de la Musica, admire the masterpieces at Museo de Arte Popular, stop by B&G Atelier, and explore the galleries of Nahualli Casa de los Artistas.

To see photos, maps, where to stay, and more tourist information, you can read our Merida holiday maker app.

Adelaide, Australia to Merida is an approximately 35-hour flight. The time zone difference when traveling from Adelaide to Merida is minus 14.5 hours. Plan for a bit warmer temperatures traveling from Adelaide in November, with highs in Merida at 36°C and lows at 24°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 3rd (Thu) early enough to drive to Chichen Itza.

Things to do in Merida

Museums · Historic Sites · Shopping

Side Trips

Ticul, Cenote Kankirixche, Uxmal, Hacienda Yaxcopoil
Find places to stay Nov 30 — Dec 3:
Highlights from your plan
Uxmal ©
Uxmal
Merida Cathedral ©
Merida Cathedral

1
night
Chichen Itza, Mexico

Chichen Itza ©
Featuring the largest archeological site of the ancient Mayan civilization, Chichen Itza remains one of the most visited tourist destinations in Mexico.
On the 4th (Fri), delve into the distant past at Plataforma de Venus, delve into the distant past at Chichen Itza, Head underground at Cenote Yokdzonot, delve into the distant past at La Iglesia, then explore the ancient world of Las Monjas, and finally delve into the distant past at Temple of the Bearded Man. Keep things going the next day: explore the ancient world of Zona Arqueologica de Ake and then see the vivid underwater world at Chinchorro Reef.

To find where to stay, traveler tips, more things to do, and more tourist information, read our Chichen Itza planner.

Traveling by car from Merida to Chichen Itza takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or take a bus. Traveling from Merida in December, Chichen Itza is somewhat warmer at night with lows of 28°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 5th (Sat) so you can travel to Caye Caulker.

Things to do in Chichen Itza

Historic Sites · Parks · Wildlife

Side Trips

Cenote Yokdzonot, Zona Arqueologica de Ake, Chinchorro Reef
Find places to stay Dec 3 — 5:
Highlights from your plan
Chichen Itza ©
Chichen Itza
Chinchorro Reef
Chinchorro Reef
Zona Arqueologica de Ake ©
Zona Arqueologica de Ake

1
night
Caye Caulker, Belize

Caye Caulker ©
At just under 8 km (5 mi) long and 1.6 km (1 mi) wide, the limestone coral island of Caye Caulker offers a small but perfectly formed getaway 32 km (20 mi) offshore from Belize City.
Start off your visit on the 6th (Sun): explore the gorgeous colors at Turneffe Reef, see what you can catch with a fishing tour, then take in the exciting artwork at Red Flower Gallery, and finally stop by Osprey Silver Jewelry & Boutique.

To see more things to do, traveler tips, reviews, and more tourist information, use the Caye Caulker trip planner.

Traveling by combination of bus, flight, and ferry from Chichen Itza to Caye Caulker takes 13 hours. The time zone difference moving from Eastern Standard Time (EST) to Central Standard Time (CST) is minus 1 hour. In December, daily temperatures in Caye Caulker can reach 33°C, while at night they dip to 26°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 7th (Mon) to allow enough time to travel to Tikal National Park.

Things to do in Caye Caulker

Wildlife · Tours · Outdoors
Find places to stay Dec 5 — 7:
Highlights from your plan
Turneffe Reef ©
Turneffe Reef
Fishing Charters & Tours
Red Flower Gallery ©
Red Flower Gallery

3
nights
Tikal National Park, Guatemala

Tikal National Park
Take a trip to Tikal National Park and discover an ancient city in the thick tropical jungle.
For ratings, maps, and tourist information, read Tikal National Park trip planner.

You can do a combination of ferry, flight, shuttle, and bus from Caye Caulker to Tikal National Park in 11 hours. You will leave for Antigua on the 10th (Thu).

Things to do in Tikal National Park

Tours · Historic Sites · Outdoors
Find places to stay Dec 7 — 10:

3
nights
Antigua, Guatemala

Antigua ©
The former capital of Guatemala and a World Heritage Site, Antigua retains its colonial charm and remains one of the most visited destinations in the country.
Your inner history buff will appreciate Catedral de San Jose and Convento Santa Clara. Step off the beaten path and head to Casa Santo Domingo Museums and Finca El Pilar. There's lots more to do: take an in-depth tour of La Azotea, don't miss a visit to San Jose El Viejo, and examine the collection at Museo Casa del Tejido Antiguo.

Take the guesswork out of planning a Antigua vacation by using our trip itinerary maker.

Traveling by combination of shuttle and flight from Tikal National Park to Antigua takes 6.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or do a combination of bus and shuttle. In December, daytime highs in Antigua are 27°C, while nighttime lows are 15°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 13th (Sun) early enough to take a shuttle to Copan Ruinas.

Things to do in Antigua

Museums · Trails · Wildlife

Side Trip

La Azotea
Find places to stay Dec 10 — 13:
Highlights from your plan
Centro Cultural La Azotea ©
Centro Cultural La Azotea
Casa Santo Domingo Museums ©
Casa Santo Domingo Museums
Finca El Pilar ©
Finca El Pilar

2
nights
Copan Ruinas, Honduras

Copan Ruinas ©
The colorful, cultural town of Copan boasts attractions old and new, manmade and natural.
Kick off your visit on the 14th (Mon): explore the ancient world of Amphitheatre, then stroll through Macaw Mountain Bird Park & Nature Reserve, and then delve into the distant past at Copan Ruinas. Keep things going the next day: contemplate the long history of Pyramid over Rosalila Temple, catch a live event at Mayan Ball Court, and then see the interesting displays at Museo de Arqueologia.

To see traveler tips, reviews, more things to do, and other tourist information, you can read our Copan Ruinas visit planner.

Getting from Antigua to Copan Ruinas by shuttle takes about 7 hours. Other options: drive; or take a bus. Traveling from Antigua in December, plan for a bit warmer nights in Copan Ruinas, with lows around 20°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 15th (Tue) to allow enough time to drive to San Salvador.

Things to do in Copan Ruinas

Historic Sites · Wildlife · Parks
Find places to stay Dec 13 — 15:
Highlights from your plan
Copan Ruinas ©
Copan Ruinas
Macaw Mountain Bird Park & Nature Reserve ©
Mayan Ball Court ©
Mayan Ball Court

2
nights
San Salvador, El Salvador

The country's capital, San Salvador sits in a scenic position surrounded by impressive volcanoes.
On the 16th (Wed), pause for some serene contemplation at Iglesia El Rosario, then discover the deep blue sea with a scuba or snorkeling tour, and then look for gifts at El Arbol de Dios. On the 17th (Thu), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: explore the engaging exhibits at Tin Marin Children's Museum, identify plant and animal life at Cinquera Rain Forest Park, don't miss a visit to Mirador Municipal Jose Antonio Rodriguez Porth, then examine the collection at Monseñor Romero Center, and finally take in the spiritual surroundings of Basilica de la Ceiba de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe.

To find photos, other places to visit, more things to do, and other tourist information, use the San Salvador online travel route planner.

Traveling by car from Copan Ruinas to San Salvador takes 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of car and bus. While traveling from Copan Ruinas, expect somewhat warmer days and about the same nights in San Salvador, ranging from highs of 36°C to lows of 22°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 17th (Thu) early enough to travel to Granada.

Things to do in San Salvador

Wildlife · Museums · Tours
Find places to stay Dec 15 — 17:
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling
Cinquera Rain Forest Park ©
Cinquera Rain Forest Park
Iglesia El Rosario ©
Iglesia El Rosario

3
nights
Granada, Nicaragua

Granada ©
The lakeside city of Granada has the look and feel of a historically important economic and political center, with grand colonial architecture, a unified look, and many cultural attractions.
Get some cultural insight at Catedral de Granada and Cathedral San Francisco. Museum-lovers will get to explore Mi Museo and Galeria Mi Camara Mi Mundo. The adventure continues: take in the architecture and atmosphere at Iglesia de La Merced, steep yourself in history at Old Railway Station, see the interesting displays at ChocoMuseo Granada, and stroll the grounds of Cementerio De Granada.

For photos, reviews, maps, and other tourist information, go to the Granada road trip app.

You can fly from San Salvador to Granada in 6.5 hours. Other options are to drive; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 20th (Sun) so you can drive to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Granada

Historic Sites · Museums · Tours
Find places to stay Dec 17 — 20:
Highlights from your plan
Iglesia de Xalteva ©
Iglesia de Xalteva
Catedral de Granada ©
Catedral de Granada
Iglesia de La Merced ©
Iglesia de La Merced

3
nights
La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica

Set against the backdrop of the imposing Arenal Volcano, La Fortuna de San Carlos offers visitors a chance to explore diverse natural landscapes and sample some delicious local produce.
Discover out-of-the-way places like River Rafting & Tubing and Arenal Natura Ecological Park. You'll explore and learn at ChocoMuseo La Fortuna and Galeria Estudio. Step out of La Fortuna de San Carlos to go to El Castillo and see Butterfly Conservatory, which is approximately 38 minutes away. There's lots more to do: witness a stunning natural landmark at Paradise Hot Springs, explore the fascinating underground world of Venado Caves, tour the pleasant surroundings at Arenal Wilberth Stables, and admire the sheer force of La Fortuna Waterfall.

For maps, more things to do, and tourist information, go to the La Fortuna de San Carlos sightseeing site.

Traveling by car from Granada to La Fortuna de San Carlos takes 5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of shuttle and bus; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 23rd (Wed) to allow time to drive to Monteverde.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks · Wildlife · Nature

Side Trips

Venado Caves, Butterfly Conservatory
Find places to stay Dec 20 — 23:
Highlights from your plan
River Rafting & Tubing
Butterfly Conservatory ©
Butterfly Conservatory
Arenal Natura Ecological Park ©
Arenal Natura Ecological Park

3
nights
Monteverde, Costa Rica

Monteverde ©
Monteverde is all about natural attractions, not surprising for an eco-tourism hotspot known for its cloud forests and rich diversity of animal life.
Step off the beaten path and head to Nature & Wildlife Tours and Chorotega Arts & Crafts. Escape the urban bustle at Valle Escondido Preserve and Ecological Sanctuary. Change things up with these side-trips from Monteverde: Middle Earth Thermal Springs (in Quebrada Grande) and Sustainability Demonstration Center (in Guacimal). There's more to do: admire the sheer force of San Luis Waterfall and experience rural life at Hidden Valley Permaculture Farm.

For reviews, more things to do, where to stay, and tourist information, you can read our Monteverde tour planner.

Traveling by car from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Monteverde takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle. December in Monteverde sees daily highs of 32°C and lows of 32°C at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 26th (Sat) to allow enough time to drive to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in Monteverde

Parks · Wildlife · Nature

Side Trips

San Luis Waterfall, Middle Earth Thermal Springs, Sustainability Demonstration Center
Find places to stay Dec 23 — 26:
Highlights from your plan
Ecological Sanctuary ©
Ecological Sanctuary
Nature & Wildlife Tours
Sustainability Demonstration Center ©
Sustainability Demonstration Center

3
nights
Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

Manuel Antonio ©
The rainforest meets the sea at Manuel Antonio National Park, a small but scenic natural preserve on the west coast of Costa Rica.
Visit Playa Biesanz and Playa Manuel Antonio for some beach relaxation. Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Off-Road Tours and The Captain's Booty. There's lots more to do: take in the local highlights with Walking tours, stroll around Parque Nahomi, relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas, and let the river carry you with a rafting and tubing tour.

To see where to stay, other places to visit, more things to do, and more tourist information, go to the Manuel Antonio road trip planner.

You can drive from Monteverde to Manuel Antonio in 4 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of shuttle and bus; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 29th (Tue) so you can drive to San Jose.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors · Tours · Parks

Side Trip

Quepos
Find places to stay Dec 26 — 29:
Highlights from your plan
Playa Manuel Antonio ©
Playa Manuel Antonio
Playa Biesanz ©
Playa Biesanz
Walking tours

2
nights
San Jose, Costa Rica

San Jose ©
A trip to San Jose, the capital, commercial center, and cultural hub of Costa Rica, gives you a chance to experience the lively atmosphere and rich cultural past of this vibrant country.
Kick off your visit on the 30th (Wed): get engrossed in the history at Museo Nacional De Costa Rica, then take an in-depth tour of Jade Museum, then examine the collection at Pre-Columbian Gold Museum, and finally view the masterpieces at Galeria Namu. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: see the top attractions with Top Travel Costa Rica, explore the world behind art at Museo de Arte Costarricense, and then take an in-depth tour of Juan Santamaria Historical Cultural Museum.

For photos, where to stay, more things to do, and other tourist information, read our San Jose trip planning website.

Traveling by car from Manuel Antonio to San Jose takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a shuttle. In December, plan for daily highs up to 30°C, and evening lows to 22°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 31st (Thu) early enough to travel to Playa del Carmen.

Things to do in San Jose

Museums · Tours · Wildlife

Side Trip

Juan Santamaria Historical Cultural Museum
Find places to stay Dec 29 — 31:
Highlights from your plan
Top Travel Costa Rica ©
Top Travel Costa Rica
Pre-Columbian Gold Museum ©
Pre-Columbian Gold Museum
Museo Nacional De Costa Rica ©
Museo Nacional De Costa Rica

2
nights
Playa del Carmen, Mexico

The tourist hub of the popular Mayan Riviera, upscale Playa del Carmen remains the jewel of Mexico's Caribbean coastline.
Museum-lovers will appreciate 3D Museum of Wonders and Casa Kuxtal. Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Off-Road Tours and Scuba & Snorkeling. There's still lots to do: explore the fascinating underground world of Cenote Chaak Tun, take the plunge with a skydiving experience, tour the pleasant surroundings at Chikin Ha, and pause for some serene contemplation at Nuestra Senora del Carmen Catholic Church.

To find traveler tips, ratings, other places to visit, and more tourist information, go to the Playa del Carmen trip itinerary maker site.

Getting from San Jose to Playa del Carmen by flight takes about 6 hours. Other options: drive; or do a combination of bus and ferry. Due to the time zone difference, you'll lose 1 hour traveling from San Jose to Playa del Carmen. In January, daily temperatures in Playa del Carmen can reach 30°C, while at night they dip to 22°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 3rd (Sun) to allow enough time to travel back home.

Things to do in Playa del Carmen

Tours · Outdoors · Wildlife

Side Trip

Scuba & Snorkeling
Find places to stay Dec 31 — Jan 3:
Highlights from your plan
Off-Road Tours
Scuba & Snorkeling
Skydiving

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